The full-stack aquaculture platform Aquaconnect announced today that it has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Lok Capital. The India-based company, which works primarily with shrimp farmers, will use the funds to strengthen its portfolio of scalable solutions using AI and satellite remote sensing, as well as to expand its service offerings in both the pre-harvest and post-harvest aquaculture value chain to input retailers, seafood buyers, and other stakeholders.
Aquaconnect has built a robust logistics infrastructure in India's rural and coastal regions to meet last-mile connectivity. It currently has a network of more than 500 AquaPartners – rural entrepreneurs providing last-mile assistance – serving more than 90,000 fish and shrimp farmers. Thanks to this investment, the AI company intends to strengthen its pre-harvest chain by tripling this network to amplify its impact throughout the country.
"We've added about 500 AquaPartners in the last 12 months and this phygital network has helped us scale phenomenally across 6 major aquaculture production states", explained Rajamanohar Somasundaram, Aquaconnect founder and CEO. "In the next 12 months, we are set to triple our AquaPartners' network across India and optimize our service offerings", he added. The superior supply chain capabilities and fulfillment centres in multiple strategic locations are helping the company to enable overnight delivery to its partners.
Moreover, with this round of funding, the India-based company also wants to expand its domestic seafood market linkage solutions and accelerate exports to the U.S., China, and Japan with the new funds. "We have been operating our domestic market linkages and overseas exports under stealth. As our pilots have shown great success, our team is geared up to scale the success we have achieved and enhance our B2B offerings in the next 12-18 months", Rajmanohar Somasundaram claimed.
"Aquaculture is a great means for smallholder farmers to enjoy significant upward economic mobility. While Aquaculture might seem like a niche Agtech space, it is the sunrise sector in India showing double-digit YoY growth with a $15B market opportunity", said Hari Krishnan, Partner, Lok Capital. "However, the industry is hampered by inefficiencies in the value chain and poses a huge scope for tech disruption. Yet its true potential is untapped. Aquaconnect, with its deep-tech intervention, has the potential to disrupt the Indian aquaculture value chain and emerge as a key player in the growing blue food segment. We are excited to be a part of Aquaconnect's growth, while it chases its aspiring goals and scales its operations in the domestic and global markets", he continued.
Lok Capital knows the market, having invested in India since 2007. To date, it has invested more than $250 million in three funds. Currently, the firm is investing through a fourth fund focused on fintech, climate-tech, agritech, and health-tech through Series A and B rounds. This round of investment in Aquaconnect also has participation from Louis Dreyfus Company Ventures and Suneight Investment, along with existing investors such as Omnivore, Rebright Partners, Flourish Ventures, HATCH, and other debt investors.
In July last year, Aquaconnect already raised $4 million in a pre-Series A round from Rebright, Flourish ventures, and AgFunder. According to his founder and CEO, with this new injection of funds, the near future looks promising. "Next 12-18 months will be challenging and exciting at the same time, the fresh funds will help us to accelerate our efforts and strengthen tech capabilities and bring efficiency and transparency in the aquaculture value chain", said Rajmanohar Somasundaram.
With numerous international awards and recognitions, Aquaconnect is a complete aquaculture platform with integrated financial technology that uses satellite remote sensing and artificial intelligence to enable aquaculture farmers, retailers, and seafood buyers to increase access to formal credit, farm inputs, and post-harvest markets. It is also the first Indian aquaculture company to obtain ISO 27001 certification for information security management. Its high-tech solutions empower the entire aquaculture value chain and help create predictability and transparency in the value chain, thus making it more efficient. Until now, Aquaconnect was funded by HATCH-Norway, Omnivore, India's pioneering Agritech VC, Japan's Rebright Partners, Flourish Ventures, AgFunder, 6G Capital, and Trifecta Capital.